Spoil your soil.
“The key thing that people forget is making sure the compost in your pot is healthy,” he says. “So buying a really rich compost, mixing it with good organic fertilizer is important.”
Make a moodboard.
Before planting, Parkinson makes collages from seed catalogues to make sure his garden packs a visual punch. “When I’m selecting plants, I almost think of it like a fashion show,” he explains. “Does that look like a Vivienne Westwood dress? You know, the colors, you almost put the colors together, like you’re thinking of a catwalk, so you’re treating all the flowers as individuals. They’ve all got to work together to complement one another.”
When picking complementary colors, look to nature.
“Nature will quite often tell you about color scheme,” he says. “if you look at a monarch butterfly, for example, you can think to yourself, okay, orange goes well with burgundy, black, dark purple, you know. Or if you look at birds of paradise—yellow, orange, again, red, but also a bit of green, a bit of blue,” he says. “Oftentimes white, in nature, is on its own.”
Seed on your windowsill.
People often assume you need a greenhouse, or expansive sunny lawn, to grow flowers from seeds. Parkinson disagrees. “You honestly can grow your garden with just a windowsill,” Parkinson says. “It is all that I have ever had.”
The trick? Not planting them too early. If they begin to bloom too early in the winter, they’ll be stuck inside, where “they won’t be happy,” says Parkinson. Instead, start to grow them in April or May for the summer season. Then, make sure to turn the pot regularly so there isn’t just one side getting most of the sunlight.
Herbs may be your best friend.
Parkinson loves a fragrant, beautiful flower like a dahlia or ornamental vegetables like pumpkin. But for those who need something low-maintenance, multi-functional, and inexpensive, he suggests growing herbs. His recommendations? Rosemary, lemon verbena, and marjoram.